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Alan C. Cudlip, Steven L. Fischer, Richard Wells, and Clark R. Dickerson

This study examined the influence of frequency and direction of force application on psychophysically acceptable forces for simulated work tasks. Fifteen male participants exerted psychophysically acceptable forces on a force transducer at 1, 3, or 5 repetitions per minute by performing both a downward press and a pull toward the body. These exertions were shown previously to be strength and balance limited, respectively. Workers chose acceptable forces at a lower percentage of their maximum voluntary force capacity during downward (strength-limited) exertions than during pulling (balance-limited) exertions at all frequencies (4% to 11%, P = .035). Frequency modulated acceptable hand force only during downward exertions, where forces at five repetitions per minute were 13% less (P = .005) than those at one exertion per minute. This study provides insight into the relationship between biomechanically limiting factors and the selection of acceptable forces for unilateral manual tasks.